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A Genetry Solar inverter in the wild.


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Well it has been powered up. And it does not like my wiring to the change over box. PJ inverter was running the unit just fine with the Ground not tied to the Neutral. But this time thru, I bonded the Ground and Neutral in my service disconnect breaker panel and as soon as power was applied, it tripped the GFCI receptacle.  Removed the box from the circuit and all was fine. Now have to check to see if it is the cords, the PJ 3000 Watt Transformer, or my boxes wiring that is causing it to trip. If the box and cords supplying it are unplugged, I can plug other stuff in and all works fine.

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It seems it is the motor control circuit in the ATS that is causing the GFCI to trip. All of my wiring is such that it isolates the output to either the normal commercial power or the Inverter power so that only leaves the ATS motor circuit that could be causing it. If I unplug the commercial power side, it transfers to the Inverter with no problems and runs the refrigerator.

2 minutes ago, InPhase said:

Where is the GFCI in all of this? A neutral/ground bond downstream of a GFCI will cause it to trip.

The bond is in the service disconnect breaker box as is the breaker for the 120 Volt outlets. Once it goes thru that breaker, then it goes directly to the GFCI receptacle which feeds the other two 120 Volt duplex outlets. There is no bond downstream of the GFCI in my outlet wiring. What it appears is the ATS motor control has a common Neutral inside it. So it picks it up from there.  I tried it with the ATS turned on but the commercial power disconnected and it operated fine without the GFCI tripping. So the ATS motor control circuit is the only place where the two could make a connection as all other parts are isolated by the transfer switch and relays.

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20 hours ago, Waterman said:

Well it has been powered up. And it does not like my wiring to the change over box. PJ inverter was running the unit just fine with the Ground not tied to the Neutral. But this time thru, I bonded the Ground and Neutral in my service disconnect breaker panel and as soon as power was applied, it tripped the GFCI receptacle.  Removed the box from the circuit and all was fine. Now have to check to see if it is the cords, the PJ 3000 Watt Transformer, or my boxes wiring that is causing it to trip. If the box and cords supplying it are unplugged, I can plug other stuff in and all works fine.

So I desperately need to get to work on the manual.  We've run into an issue with the 12kw on ATS testing at Sean's place...the ground-neutral bonding causes serious issues if you try to run 240vAC into the inverter.  Basically, the internal relay only disconnects I-L1.  If you have it set for 240v, I-L2 goes to the mains L2...BUT the ground-neutral bonding will backfeed Mains Neutral into the O-N (Output Neutral) terminal on the inverter--powering the N - L2 side of the transformer, even when the inverter's internal relay is off.  Not only can this damage the inverter, the CPU also can't see this problematic power flow.  (It WILL, however, notice the voltage on the output of the transformer when you turn it on, and will refuse to enter inverter mode.  If AC Mains is connected while it's running...well, it might blow up.)

Admittedly, this is exactly the same problem a PJ would have.  Only they'd just go right ahead and blow up regardless 😉.

Bit of an issue.  I was struggling to find a 50-amp PCB mount relay...but for the life of me, I can't seem to find a double-pole relay to disconnect both sides of the AC input circuit.  Sure, I could add another relay to disconnect both sides separately, but...

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2 hours ago, Sid Genetry Solar said:

On a different subject, I do see you found the screen flip function 😉.

First thing I went looking for.

3 hours ago, Sid Genetry Solar said:

So I desperately need to get to work on the manual.  We've run into an issue with the 12kw on ATS testing at Sean's place...the ground-neutral bonding causes serious issues if you try to run 240vAC into the inverter.  Basically, the internal relay only disconnects I-L1.  If you have it set for 240v, I-L2 goes to the mains L2...BUT the ground-neutral bonding will backfeed Mains Neutral into the O-N (Output Neutral) terminal on the inverter--powering the N - L2 side of the transformer, even when the inverter's internal relay is off.  Not only can this damage the inverter, the CPU also can't see this problematic power flow.  (It WILL, however, notice the voltage on the output of the transformer when you turn it on, and will refuse to enter inverter mode.  If AC Mains is connected while it's running...well, it might blow up.)

Admittedly, this is exactly the same problem a PJ would have.  Only they'd just go right ahead and blow up regardless 😉.

Bit of an issue.  I was struggling to find a 50-amp PCB mount relay...but for the life of me, I can't seem to find a double-pole relay to disconnect both sides of the AC input circuit.  Sure, I could add another relay to disconnect both sides separately, but...

I am now completely befuddled. I have an Identical transfer switch. It shows no connections between Neutrals in any mode. So I checked the box. It too shows no connections in any mode when checked with a DVOM. But yet it will trip the GFCI if I allow it to attempt a transfer or if I manually transfer power with the inverter on. If the inverter is off when I manually throw it from Commercial to Inverter and then power up the inverter, it is fine. When you switch it manually, when turning the handle, the power indicator light does flicker even if there is no external power. I wonder if the GFCI is detecting the generated voltage of the motor. 

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Can you sketch a diagram of the layout? I read it like the GFCI is basically the end of the chain and it is tripping from some upstream problem... Which isn't how GFCIs work. The only time I've seen that was from dirty power or RF interference.

Fun side story: Remember Nextel and Direct Connect from the first decade of the 2000s? Cellphones with walkie talkies basically. I was in a medical facility trouble shooting something. I opened a breaker panel full of GFCI breakers and pulled out my phone to radio someone. As soon as I hit the button to talk, all the GFCI breakers tripped. 20+ breakers tripping simultaneously is an event to behold. I was thrilled that I discovered something neat, but the facility was none too happy with this blackout!

Edited by InPhase
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3 hours ago, InPhase said:

Can you sketch a diagram of the layout? I read it like the GFCI is basically the end of the chain and it is tripping from some upstream problem... Which isn't how GFCIs work. The only time I've seen that was from dirty power or RF interference.

Fun side story: Remember Nextel and Direct Connect from the first decade of the 2000s? Cellphones with walkie talkies basically. I was in a medical facility trouble shooting something. I opened a breaker panel full of GFCI breakers and pulled out my phone to radio someone. As soon as I hit the button to talk, all the GFCI breakers tripped. 20+ breakers tripping simultaneously is an event to behold. I was thrilled that I discovered something neat, but the facility was none too happy with this blackout!

Oh my!!! dang, yes that would have been one hell of a trip to watch happen. . . I hope nobody got killed for that one. . .

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, InPhase said:

Can you sketch a diagram of the layout? I read it like the GFCI is basically the end of the chain and it is tripping from some upstream problem... Which isn't how GFCIs work. The only time I've seen that was from dirty power or RF interference.

Fun side story: Remember Nextel and Direct Connect from the first decade of the 2000s? Cellphones with walkie talkies basically. I was in a medical facility trouble shooting something. I opened a breaker panel full of GFCI breakers and pulled out my phone to radio someone. As soon as I hit the button to talk, all the GFCI breakers tripped. 20+ breakers tripping simultaneously is an event to behold. I was thrilled that I discovered something neat, but the facility was none too happy with this blackout!

Inverter > Breaker Panel where the Ground and Neutral are bonded > 2 pole Breaker for incoming power > single pole Breaker for 120V out > GFCI receptacle in first outlet box > second outlet box with regular receptacle > third outlet box with regular receptacle > Cord to the transfer switch box > Transfer Switch box < incoming commercial power.  Transfer switch box has two outlets which are fed from either commercial power or inverter power. Inside the box are single pole 15 Amp breakers for each power source. The Inverter side has a timing delay relay, a 40 Amp relay, meter, before it gets to the motorized transfer switch. Motorized transfer switch is powered from either side to throw it. Delay relay powers the 40 Amp relay to allow for inrush currents and to allow the inverter to get up to speed before the transfer switch throws. The reason for the transfer switch was to isolate the line, neutral, and ground from each source from the other.  So no, the GFCI is not at the end, it is at the start of the inverter side and should never see the commercial side power.  Looks like I need to use one set of contacts on the relay for the Neutral side so that when the relay is powered, it breaks the Neutral from commercial power.

 

And yes, I know about the Nextel units. I had one at my side 24/7 for work.

Edited by Waterman
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45 minutes ago, InPhase said:

Some transfer switches transfer the neutral, some don't. If the neutral is solid and not switched, sounds like a good place to look.

Mine I know is as it is switched on two 4 pole breakers. The only place for the common connection is inside the motor control circuitry. I cannot get any connectivity readings even thru there but that has to be where it is. Digital VOM shows no connections when breakers are in the open positions.

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6 hours ago, TheButcher said:

It could be capacitive, ie no DC path, so a meter in ohms mode will not read it.

That is the next test on the agenda. My meter does those too. Although it threw me for a loop the first time I used it when it came up a 6.8 mF instead of 6800 uF when I tested some Capacitors.

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And it read, .0003uf which should not be the cause. As it is instantly tripping, that leaves only one other possible cause, the timing relay. As I don't have to wait for the inverter to power up like with the Reliable one, I can take out the power relay and the timing relay too if it will operate with just the transfer switch.

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Pulled the Timing relay which also takes out the power connection to the power relay and also turned off the Inverter breaker in the box. Still tripped the GFCI when the Commercial power was plugged in. So we know it isn't the L1 that is causing the problems and that it has to be something with the Neutral. It may come down to the Power relay may need to switch both Neutrals instead of switching the hot lead of the inverter and the Neutral of the Commercial power.

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We can distinguish between a neutral to neutral connection vs. a neutral to ground fault by disconnecting the ground at the receptacle. This way you'll know for sure nothing is going to ground on that side. If the GFCI holds, there's a ground fault somewhere. 

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I hooked up the commercial power Neutral to the power relay so that when it is powered, it takes the commercial power Neutral out of the circuit. So now, if I kill the incoming commercial power by pulling its plug, and then turning on the inverter, the GFCI says in. Once the transfer is done, I can plug the commercial power back in and the GFCI stays on. If it were a Ground to Neutral fault in the unit, it should still trip. When it drops the relay because the inverter turns off  it would need to have the plug pulled before powering up the inverter again. So really, the solution is to add another relay that keeps the Neutral of the Inverter off the transfer switch until the Neutral of the Commercial power has been disconnected. It actually is at the point of being easier to remove the transfer switch and rely on the 40 Amp relay to do all the work. Just I would lose the manual transfer capability. Or run the power out to the shed, thru the inverter and back to the items on it using the GS inverter in UPS/ATS mode. As it is using the 120Volt part only, it should not see the problem that Sid saw unless one is on L1 and the commercial power is on L2 of the House. Which is another possibility of why the GFCI trips in my case. Tomorrow will see more testing.

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Well I found the problem. The idiot who did the wiring goofed.🙄 It seems I kept missing the wires that connected the meter to the unit. And low and behold, the Neutral wire was tied to the common Neutral output to the receptacles. Instead of to the Neutral on the input side of the inverter breaker of the transfer switch. And now it works. Well at least on the home wiring which showed the same signs as the inverter wiring in every step. So in the morning, it should work when I turn the inverter on. Not happy because it is using Neutral switching but at least I found the problem. If it operates as it should then I can put the Line switching back in. And then on to the next thing, setting up the inverter so that it comes on at 28 Volts and turns off at 26 Volts.

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10 hours ago, Waterman said:

Well I found the problem. The idiot who did the wiring goofed.🙄 It seems I kept missing the wires that connected the meter to the unit. And low and behold, the Neutral wire was tied to the common Neutral output to the receptacles. Instead of to the Neutral on the input side of the inverter breaker of the transfer switch. And now it works. Well at least on the home wiring which showed the same signs as the inverter wiring in every step. So in the morning, it should work when I turn the inverter on. Not happy because it is using Neutral switching but at least I found the problem. If it operates as it should then I can put the Line switching back in. And then on to the next thing, setting up the inverter so that it comes on at 28 Volts and turns off at 26 Volts.

What do you use to transfer your line and to transfer your neutral?

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3 hours ago, CHG_Coin said:

What do you use to transfer your line and to transfer your neutral?

I use a powered transfer switch like this. https://www.ebay.com/itm/4P-63A-Dual-Power-Automatic-Transfer-Switch-110V-Professional-Changeover-Switch/153075775295

As long as you have split phase power and use the #1 and N terminals on each side as Line and Neutral respectively for your power ( Normal, Backup ), you can actually use it for four wire 120/240Volt. Another version that I don't have has a slide switch and is marked with center Off which is a 3P version. Mine is wired with the Normal side being the inverter and the backup as the commercial power. That way it will always transfer to the inverter if it is running.

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Boy did I feel stupid last night. 🤪 I went out and checked the transfer box and the commercial power indicator available LED was out. So go back in the house to check the breaker. It was fine. So plugged the refrigerator directly into the outlet, it was fine. Plugged it back into the box. and it ran on the inverter. Oh no, that means the transfer switch is failing.😬 Pulled the inverter input and the switch went over to commercial power just like it was supposed to and both commercial power available and commercial power connected lit up. Stupid me forgot that when I had the problems, I had wired the Neutral to the power relay and when it is on inverter, it turns off the indicator for commercial power to. Luckily that will only require about 5 minutes to rewire.

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